DISTAGON 35 for CONTAX 645

Review of using the DISTAGON 35mm(Kyocera/CONTAX) with a Leica S digital camera.

Table of contents

Gallery / Photo example from LEICA S Typ007

Impression
The widest angle lens on the Contax 645 is 21mm, but on the Leica S it is 28mm, which is a normal wide angle lens.
I was a little thrilled when I checked the sharpness of the first results on the monitor when I stopped down the aperture a little.
Compared to the 35mm, I find the 45mm to be softer. 55mm is intriguing but too expensive.
In 2023, when the standard lens is 24mm or less, 28mm is not a very wide angle of view, but I think it is well-balanced and easy to compose when shooting with a medium format sensor camera.
Distortion is not noticeable in landscapes and other subjects, but when photographing a grid-like object at a distance of about 3m, barrel distortion may be noticeable in the periphery. When photographing a grid-like object, it is necessary to correct the distortion.
In the past, these lenses were relatively rare, expensive, and scarce, but in 2023, a large number of them were supplied to the used lens market, and depending on the condition of the lens, you may be able to find them at low prices. The lens introduced here was obtained with a hood (GB-101) for about 80,000 yen.
This lens also has a lag time until it can be used in communication with LEICA S typ007, but I think it is a little faster than SONNAR 140mm and DISTAGON 45mm (it is just a feeling and there may not be a clear difference).
Focusing speed is not particularly fast, but I think it is within the range of practical use.
As expected of such an old lens, when used without a hood, stray light and flare due to ghosting may occur in backlit situations, resulting in a loss of contrast, so I think it is safe to wear a hood when outdoors.

The DISTAGON 35mm can be compared to the Hasselblad HC35mm and the Leica Elmarit S f2.8/35mm ASPH. (Order no. 11077 | CS: 11078).
The Elmarit S 35mm is priced at nearly 1 million yen and is not expected to be available on a personal income. And as of 2023, the product is no longer available, so you will have to look for it in the second-hand market. The desk-top comparison of specifications is as shown in the lens specifications. The Elmarit S is heavier and larger, but has a maximum aperture of F2.5, which is one stop brighter, a luxurious lens configuration with 12 elements in 9 groups, an aspherical lens, and rear focus that moves the small glass group (the DISTAGON 35mm/HC35mm also have rear focus). In the MTF chart comparison, Leica’s range is 27mm and ZEISS’s range is 35mm, but when comparing the Elmarit S and Distagon in the range up to 27mm, the graph shows that the Elmarit wins hands down. The HC35mm has a filter diameter of 27mm and the ZEISS lens has a filter diameter of 35mm.

The HC35mm has the same filter diameter of 95mm and the same maximum lens diameter, but the DISTAGON 35mm has a shorter lens length, a slimmer lens barrel focus section, and weighs about 100g less.
This is because the HC35mm has a slightly more complicated lens construction and shutter mechanism.
When the HC35mm is used with the HASSELBLAD X2D, Phocas compensates well and no roughness is noticeable, but when used with the LEICA S to develop DNG, a little barrel distortion may be noticed. As mentioned earlier, the DISTAGON 35mm can have the same barrel distortion. Although we have not quantitatively evaluated the amount of distortion, it seems to be about the same.

Specification
Wide-angle lens with a focal length of 35mm, or 28mm when used with the LEICA S.
A dedicated lens hood (GB-101) is used.

ItemsSpec1Spec 2Spec3
Lens nameCONTAX
Distagon 35mm
LEICA
SUMMARIT-S 45mm
HASSELBLAD
HC35mm
Focal length(mm)35.53535.8
Max aperture3.52.53.5
Min aperture322232
Lens Construction9elements in
7groups
12elements in 9groups11elements in 10groups
Min distance(m)0.50.60.5
Lens length(mm)
Distance from mount flange
108122124
Lens Max dia.(mm)10888100
Filter Size(mm)958295
Weight(g)877930/1030(CS)975
Release date19992013/10/10
Price¥287,000-
Y2023 Uesd price ¥80,000〜
Non shutter ¥847,000-
With shutter ¥979,000-
Y2023 Uesd price ¥150,000〜

Reference links

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